Mastermind Creations continue their Ocular Max Perfection Series of Masterpiece gap-busters with PS-05 Terraegis, one of the original heroic 1984 Ark crew yet to get an official release. BadCube Speedbump is already on the market, but many held out for Ocular Max and Terraegis’s superior cartoon accuracy. Ocular Max started super strong with Sphinx and Jaguar, but Backdraft and Girder had tolerance and QC issues, so while Reformatted continues to be brilliant, the Perfection Series is struggling to live up to its name based on the Backdraft/Girder mould.
As I received the Asian market release of Terraegis, he came packaged in robot mode instead of vehicle mode, lacking the lovely Diaclone Car Robot-style packaging, hybridised so nicely with Transformers grid and tech spec design. If you put an image of Terraegis next to a few cartoon stills of the original inspiration, you’ll see just how well Ocular Max nailed the look and details. The figure also comes with a toy-accurate G1 head, two silver missiles that can be shoulder or wrist mounted using the appropriate extra attachment adaptors. He also comes with the head array with two different array supports, depending on whether you want it centrally mounted like the G1 toy, or off to the side like the cartoon.
Straight out of the box, I was getting the feeling that Terraegis’s take on this character was not my preferred option between this and Speedbump, I had a more immediate aesthetic appreciation of the latter and struggled to connect to the style Ocular Max have gone for, especially in the headsculpt that ended up just reminding me too much of Kup. This is despite the accuracy demonstrated online by more resourceful enthusiasts. Little niggles like the outer knees not tabbing flush and the shin panels also failing to accomplish that feat were not helping.
Terraegis has adaptors that fit over his wrists with retracted hands, this allows you to pull off the rear of the chrome missiles and attach them to his arms. The rear of the missiles fit into another small adaptor and can be squeezed, with effort, onto the holes on his outer bicep. In cartoon configuration as seen above, Terra has a blue eyeband, offset shoulder attachment for the head array and one slightly angled missile attached via the other shoulder. I simply cannot explain how the missiles attach to the shoulder eloquently enough without baffling you, so all I will say is there is a way to get them angled a little for cartoon style, and even more angled back, almost vertical, for toy style. It involves rotating the small black clips on his shoulders so that you either slot the missile tab into a gap, or you slide it onto the clip at a precise angle so it holds. The latter is for toy style, allowing you to rotate the missile further back to display it near-vertically. You would do this with two missiles – one on either side of the head – and attach the head array more centrally via a circular peg just below his neck.
He’s plenty posable as you can see, with ample ankle tilt (but not outwards), capable of a convincing kneel and quite a lot of dynamic battle stances. The elbows are not double-jointed so the forearm does not come up and sit perfectly flush against the upper arm. The knees bend only to the point where the panel on the calf becomes a problem and obstructs, see above. The other issue is that due to where the knees tab, a careless bending of it can result in untabbing of the knees. If you grip the tabbed sections and bend it, they knee will bend in the desired and intended spot. A similar issue to Speedbump I guess. There’s a good range of motion in the waist and hips, but raising the legs up to the side there is no ratcheting, so it feels quite odd and as though it’s going to snap, but of course it won’t. I’ve just gotten too used to ratchets. Everything stays in place when posing and handling, which is nice. Lots of articulation in the neck, hands and shoulders. I guess what irks me the most are the gaps between the knee parts and the shin parts.
In terms of size, he fits well with official Masterpiece figures, and I guess in terms of colour and aesthetic too. Although, looking at Inferno, you can see TakaraTomy have taken bigger steps into 100% accurate detailing than Ocular Max who are still very much about accentuating real life vehicle mode features. The hands on PS-06 are as you’d expect, well articulated and not over-sized as they were on BadCube’s effort. He also cuts quite a clean silhouette without major kibble, Ocular Max not having the baffling arrangement of panels behind his back that BadCube did on Speedbump.
As much as it has been shown to me that this head sculpt is quite accurate for Terraegis, based on stills from the cartoon, I’ve not bonded with it. I feel as though the helmet should be more squared off at the back and that his face should be longer, but these are personal feelings and I’ve been reading a lot of favourable reaction to the sculpt online. You have eyes, you can see it, you know if you dig it or not.
It wasn’t until I attached the Terraegis toy-accurate head – itself a painful exercise in screwing and unscrewing – as well as the toy-accurate PS-01 dark blue Sphinx head the package comes with, that I started to feel any affection for the figure. Ocular Max really do need to adopt the very easily replaceable face and helmet functionality that has done away with the need for screwing as TakaraTomy and MakeToys have done.
By adding the toy head, and the two shoulder missiles in the right orientation, and a centrally mounted head array, as well as pulling out the sides of the chest/hood, Terraegis suddenly has a purpose and comes to life for me. As a cartoon-aimed Masterpiece stand in he just doesn’t do enough for my tastes, no real excitement at all (I’ll come to more reasons why later), but as a well-proportioned MP-style toy homage, he’s quite lovely. Stand Sphinx and Terra next to each other in toy configuration (also good lord what a pain it was to swap Sphinx faces) and it’s as sweet as a nut. It helps that Ocular Max have done a stellar job on the sculpting of the toy head, really very nice. I wish his ears were chrome as on the G1 figure, but they’ve gone with grey to match the overarching screen aesthetic of other parts of the robot.
So the robot mode not quite tabbing correctly and the cartoon aesthetic not really gathering any traction with me on Terraegis were not the only sources of frustration for me. The transformation to vehicle mode also vexed me to the point where I wanted to walk away from the figure, initially. Not due to complexity, not at all as it;s rather straightforward, more because of the nature and frustration inherent in it. For a start, handling the running boards can mean they come off and constantly have to be aligned again, and one of the windows of the cab fell off, and continues to fall off repeatedly. You can see from the pictures above that the rear of the truck is riddled with gaps, added to that is the fact that the roof of the cab either has a gap between the rear section or the front windshield, or equal gaps either side. You have to decide which you can live with.
Repeated practice helps, it really does. For a start, learning what to untab and unclip first really makes a difference. Suddenly a section you’ve been struggling to shift becomes unlocked and freed up for movement. This is the case for the side panels that act as calves. Remembering to fold out the frighteningly fragile-feeling mirrors (we all said these would break first, yet no reports of broken mirrors have surfaced so…) is important for getting everything clipped in on the vehicle sides. You learn tricks, for example how to get the rear section to tab well to the side panels, you kinda have to squish them in and then let go to let them expand outwards again to clip on. In fact, that’s the transformation in a nutshell, a squash and a squeeze. There’s virtually no elegance to it whatsoever. I constantly live in fear of tearing off the rear section because of the frustratingly long clear pair of tabs that tuck in underneath the cab roof. Pulling them out is just awful, you simply have to believe you are not causing damage when all the time you get the feeling you are flexing things to breaking point.
Despite all of the above, and the lack of satisfying tabbing of the rear wheels to the metal leg section, despite the instructions not being so very helpful, you get there. You get there and the result is quite attractive. The chrome, the rubber, the translucent plastic and the overall shape make Terraegis work as a Masterpiece style real world Toyota Hilux 4WD vehicle to fit in with your heroes. For the first week of ownership, though, getting there just wasn’t enough due to all of the described issues above. In addition, I noticed that the transformation was rubbing a significant amount of red paint off the robot’s right knee, and this affects display.
Some have complained about the different coloured plastic used for the rear of the vehicle, but my main issue there is that a darker window tint would have hidden the folded up legs more effectively, however neither of these things are dealbreakers. It’s pretty, it does the job, it’s plenty accurate and it slots in nicely with Masterpiece toys as well as other similar 3rd party releases. You can make your own judgements about vehicle mode scale, you know it’s not the priority for this kind of figure.
For the issues in robot mode, there are collectors who have overcome them, no thanks to the instructions or official advice. Things that can help with the tabbing around the knees and lower legs include making sure you have tucked the running boards back as far as they will go, even inside the calf panel. You can also try to push in the die cast bar that sits behind the leg, it’s not going to click into place or anything, just maybe aid things a bit. I did these things and still have the gaps and lack of flush tabbing. For the knee bend, apparently loosening the screw a bit can aid in the right part flexing instead of untabbing the whole knee. I guess for me it’s just a little too much that isn’t polished and this has not gone unnoticed by the manufacturer.
My initial feelings on Terraegis were decidedly negative, and the things that bothered me were not allowing me to see the positives. That has changed a little thanks to others in the community providing tips on how to transform and resolve issues, and just with perseverance and practice. And there are positives, such as the look of the vehicle mode and the option of turning him into the toy homage, which is by far my favourite feature. Well, and the Sphinx toy head, that was a wonderful addition but should obviously have been made available on Sphinx itself! I also like the return of slide out hands and forearms in a transformation. There is too much going on with adaptors and small clips when it comes to the accessories, and some have had issues with the wrist adaptors simply not clipping on well enough.
Maybe it is asking too much to expect to have a product we enjoy perfectly straight out of the box before really getting to know it, Masterpiece Transformers spoil us truly. But maybe the overall lack of polish and extra undocumented steps one has to go through in order to get him – in the case of my specimen – about 90% of the way to the fully intended robot mode/car mode (tabs, gaps, window etc) are not good enough any more. My gut feeling at this moment in time is to wait for TakaraTomy to address this character. BadCube and Ocular Max have left enough on the table for TT to come in and be the clear winner, based on past experience.
All the best